Elmore Redux

In that weird way things have of coming full circle, I just read an article in The Guardian which took my recent post about editing one step further.

In that post I mentioned Elmore Leonard’s rules of writing, the most famous of which being, “I leave out the parts other people tend to skip.” The Guardian kindly listed all ten rules in their article and then followed up with other authors’ dos and don’ts. (It’s a two-parter.) I would throw in my two cents, but why would you read mine when here you have tips from the likes of Margaret Atwood, Richard Ford and Neil Gaiman?  Though I should mention I often tell writers whose manuscripts I’m editing to follow Helen Dunmore’s advice. (As yet, none of them have listened.):

Listen to what you have written. A dud rhythm in a passage of dialogue may show that you don’t yet understand the characters well enough to write in their voices.


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